Marhaba gets an exclusive tour on the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, which has landed in Qatar ahead of WISH 2018.
‘There are 253 million people in the world who are blind or visually impaired, yet 75% of cases could be treated or prevented.’
Believing that no one should be blind due to lack of access to quality eyecare, the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital travels across Asia, Africa and Latin America to rural areas in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Ethiopia to deliver eye tests and treatments to those who are in need of them.
Orbit, the world’s only fully-functioning accredited eye hospital on board an aircraft, operated by global eye health charity Orbis, has now landed in Qatar ahead of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) in order to allow healthcare professionals and Qatar-based supporters of Orbis to tour the plane as well as to highlight the Qatar Creating Vision (QCV), an initiative funded by Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and implemented by Orbis.
Orbis is a cargo plane, donated by FedX, which has been fully converted into an eye hospital and teaching facility complete with an operating room, classroom, and recovery room. Working with a global team of volunteers, the Flying Eye Hospital travels to at least five countries a year, staying two to four weeks in each country, providing not only treatments but also training for local doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Once they arrive at the desired destination, their medical teams work both on the stationary aircraft and on land in local partner hospitals.
In July 2016, Orbis and the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) officially launched the Qatar Creating Vision (QCV) initiative, which aims to deliver eye tests and treatments to children across India and Bangladesh. At least 473,000 children are struggling with blindness across the two countries and there is more paediatric blindness in India than anywhere else in the world. Under QCV, Orbis provides comprehensive eye screenings in schools, educating communities on eye health, and strengthening hospital services to ensure more children with preventable blinding conditions can be helped. Since QCV programmes began, Orbis has expanded the services of 11 paediatric eye centres in India and nine in Bangladesh. Through their dedicated school screening programme, Orbis has provided more than 4.2 million eye tests to children across the two countries and over 56,000 training sessions to doctors, teachers and community workers. In 2018, Orbis extended their work further to bring eye care services to both the Rohingya refugees and community of southeast Bangladesh.
Following on from QFFD’s commitment to preventing blindness, Qatar Charity launched a fundraising campaign in Qatar, giving a platform to individuals, businesses and other organisations to align with Qatar Creating Vision. Qatar Charity has raised more than QAR2 million in two years. The funds have enabled Orbis to launch an additional project in Bangladesh, focusing on developing human resources to generate more trained cataract surgeons, able to deliver a high volume of top quality surgeries. Since the start of the programme in 2015, more than 38,900 surgeries have been performed.
Haven’t taken the tour? Learn more about Orbis at WISH, an initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), which is taking place on 13-14 November at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). Orbis’s visit will take place during the inaugural Doha Healthcare Week, a week of healthcare-related community-based events taking place before WISH 2018.